Marco Rubio's GOP Debate Closing Statement

Marco Rubio finally got the chance to debate in his home state Thursday night, alongside Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. On stage at the University of Miami, the four remaining Republican contenders competed in the final debate before the Sunshine State, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, and Missouri hold their primary elections Tuesday. Rubio's debate closing statement tried to play up his home-state advantage, but wasn't enough.

Rubio's campaign has a lot riding on the Florida primary, so he really needed to pull of a stellar performance Thursday night. The state has a total of 99 delegates that will go to the Republican candidate who wins the most votes overall in true winner-take-all fashion. A failure in Florida will likely put an end to Rubio's presidential bid, as he hasn't won many primaries at all — he currently has a meager 151 delegates, compared to Cruz's 359 and Trump's 458. The Florida senator focused his campaign efforts on the state all week leading up to the big day March 15. "Florida is the priority," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told USA Today's Ledyard King earlier this week.

Tensions were running high Thursday night, with all four candidates desperately trying to stick out to Florida voters as the ideal Republican nominee.


Check out Rubio's closing statement from the 12th GOP debate:

It is great to be here, back at home in Miami. It's hard to believe that just two decades ago my father was just a bartender working in this city. And now his son stands on this stage, here, as a candidate for the highest office in the land. My parents never wanted me to go into politics in particular or anything else — they just wanted me to have the opportunity to live out all the dreams they once had for themselves. And that was possible because America's a special country, but that was not an accident. America is great because each generation before us did what needed to be done. They solved their problems, they confronted their challenges, they embraced their opportunities. And for over two centuries, each generation has left the next better off. Now the moment has arrived for our generation to do our part. And I'm telling you tonight, if you vote for me here in Florida and everywhere across this country on Tuesday, when I'm elected president, this generation will do its part. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that our children inherit from us what we inherited from our parents — the single greatest nation in the history of all of mankind.

He really tried to play up his personal ties to Florida. Unfortunately for him, it might have been too little too late.